Kagame Attacks Security Apparatus Over General Nyamwasa
Kigali: President Paul Kagame hinted on Wednesday that the way the security apparatus handled the fugitive General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa could have contributed to his fleeing, a criticism likely to lead to some heads rolling, RNA reports. The exiled journalist Mr. Charles Kabonero also came under the President’s radar.
Gen. Kayumba was summoned by security officials on Thursday night – a day before he fled the country over serious criminal charges, the President revealed. However, the officials who handled his case could have been influenced by “family relations”, according to Mr. Kagame.
“In Rwandan society, there are still so much family relations and friendship,” said Mr. Kagame. “They even gave him the time to go and think about the accusations so that they can start from there the next day.”
He added: “…there was overwhelming evidence backing the charges that he was not able to respond to some. If those interrogating him had followed this lead, he could not have left.”
Mr. Kagame said Gen. Kayumba could have fled the country because his plans had been revealed to him by security officials who indicated to him that they were aware of whatever he was planning.
“Never” a coup in Rwanda, “not like Niger”
The President also dismissed suggestions that General Kayumba and Col. Karegeya were close to him. “Those were not my colleagues. Am above these people and what they stand for,” he said.
“Kayumba, Karegeya…NO,” the President said. “I don’t drink with them, I never did.”
“It will be an insult to me to reduce myself to their level,” he added in gestures which indicated he was becoming angry with the whole situation.
Responding to another question that there have been rumours of a coup plot in which Gen. Kayumba and Karegeya have been named, President Kagame said “never”, “nobody can”, describing such a suggestion as “wishful thinking” for anybody to imagine that happening here.
“Maybe in Habyarimana’s period or before…,” he added spreading his hands in vigorous gestures.
The President also said Rwanda is “not like Niger where soldiers” do whatever they link with the country. He said Rwanda has established solid institutions for the last 16 years that cannot be possible for coup.
He said people “should sleep and wake up” without any worries. “Don’t waste your time. Go to bars and drink you will wake up to find Rwanda is still going on.”
The President said his responsibility is ensuring stability. “If you are tired, you go out and leave us in our country,” he said. Mr. Kagame also revealed that Col. Karegeya has been “transacting” his activities in the region, adding that the exiled former head of the External Security Organisation (ESO) has been moving from one country to another in this region.
He said government is employing all mechanisms available “including extradition” with the countries concerned, but did not name any to have the two officers face justice. The President said just like Rwanda would not want to have destabilizing forces in neighbouring countries, Rwanda considers the same principle.
Kabonero in spotlight
The controversial tabloid UMUSESO also came under the spotlight in the President’s press conference. In the first reaction to allegations which arose several years ago suggesting that exiled publisher Mr. Charles Kabonero was in contact with exile ex-junior Abdul Ruzibiza, with plans to cause chaos in Kigali, Mr. Kagame did not mince any words.
Mr. Kagame said some journalists also have some cases to answer for in relation Gen. Kayumba and Col. Karegeya. “There are those who found Karegeya in South Africa to speak to him. There are even those who went there but have not returned,” he said, in reference to Mr. Kabonero, who is said to be in South Africa seeking asylum to North America or Europe.
Without categorically naming Mr. Kabonero, the President said there are some journalists who were found with documents detailing a plan to cause state insecurity.
“…which I think is still being investigated,” he revealed.
Possible FDLR link to Kayumba
When three grenades exploded in Kigali two weeks ago and other in Huye district a week before, Police Spokesman Superintendent Eric Kayiranga said investigations had shown that Rwandan FDLR rebels were behind.
The link has not been raised again. On Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority revealed that Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col Patrick Karegeya were behind the grenade blasts. On Wednesday, President Kagame said the link between the two scenarios can also be possible.
Without being categorical, the President said the security apparatus is looking at all leads including a possibility that the ex-officers could be working with the rebels.